THE ORDER OF THINGS
“An ethereal figure stood in the middle of the field on the first Saturday afternoon of summer. One by one, she instructed participants to take a deep breath before pouring a dark concoction of frankincense, Roman chamomile, rosewood, spruce, blue tansy, and lavender essential oils into their palms, instructing them rub their hands together, before imprinting them on a note card that turns into an artwork for the viewer to bring home. ‘It’s like the underbelly of a forest,’ said the goddess-like woman, the artist Lia Chavez.” — Forbes
In her one-on-one healing performance, “The Order of Things,” Chavez turns her attention to humanity’s relationship to Nature, infinity, and collective rites of passage. She invites her audience to join her in a psychological healing ritual devised to reintegrate microcosm and macrocosm.
The performance is presented by Good To Know.FYI and Jessica Hodin Lévy on the occasion of the 2020 summer solstice, as part of the “Infinite Seed” exhibition at Bhumi Farms in East Hampton, New York. “Presently, we are faced with the challenge to forge an synthesized paradigm in which we claim, through philosophy and action, our place of belonging within nature,” says Chavez.
Sharing her two decades-long practice with plant oils and essences with an audience for the first time, Chavez incorporates her extensive knowledge of contemplative botany into this performance. The piece features densely pigmented anointing oil custom formulated by the artist to stain the lines of the palm cobalt while enhancing mental clarity and emotional balance. Referencing her interest in the process by which plants transform physical light into energy for vitalizing body and soul, the artist states, “The green wisdom gifted to us by nature is the true alchemist’s gold,” the Chavez states.
“Chavez advances art history by looking backward—back toward the throbbing sincerity of the abstract expressionists decades before, and, thanks to her admiration of medieval and Renaissance artists, further back still. Her work is all about tracing inspiration to its roots and discovering, like Jackson Pollock, that we ‘are nature,’ that all of us ‘are nature,’ and that inspiration comes from the simultaneously earthly and divine sources at the heart of Being.” – Image Journal
As the experience progresses, the artist leads individual participants through a gestural ritual of contemplating the myriad fractal patterns of the palm. Chavez crafts a somatic journey which guides participants through breathing techniques and visual meditation which renders the distinct impression of cosmic consciousness inherent within the viewer.
The human hand is an enduring symbol of the ability to create, to heal, and to transform challenges into triumphs. The performance draws the viewer’s attention to becoming present with the perfection of the cosmos. “I invite participants to ponder the generative potential that lies within their own hands. The wise hand moves through the world to cultivate, for it understands that it reaps what it gives. Touched by plant essences, the cosmic inscription upon the palm is revealed. As we become aware of our kinship with the rhizomatic ecological order, the agency embedded in our healing hands will become fully liberated.” Chavez states.
“Explores the interconnectedness of the cosmic forces and our earthly experiences in order to invite our collective healing.” –Whitehot Magazine
The Order of Things, June 20, 2020
One-on-One Healing Performance
Presented by Good To Know.FYI and Jessica Hodin Lévy
Bhumi Farms, East Hampton, New York
Featuring anointing oil custom formulated by the artist
Sustainable couture by Elanur Erdoğan of DOBS NY
With special thanks to Julia Stegner (pictured)
Photography credit: David Shing